The National Authority for Consumer Protection (ANPC) has successfully conducted verifications in the most controversial and innovative sector, that being marketing promoted through social media influencers, which has rapidly gained a prominent position in the top promotion methods in recent years. The verification action targeted 10 content creators who currently enjoy the highest visibility in Romania. The purpose of this action is to halt the promotion, through social networks, of messages that do not clearly and transparently disclose their promotional nature.
ANPC’s letters to Romanian influencers emphasized the general applicability of the prohibition on hidden advertising, which means it also applies to online communications by content creators. They cannot lead the public to believe that their promotion is spontaneous and devoid of interests when, in fact, they are promoting a brand. Therefore, ANPC requested the recipients of the letters to express the promotional purpose clearly and recognized for all content disseminated on social networks.
Nationally, a series of actions are recommended regarding all photos or videos posted by an influencer online that promote any brand, including their own. Among the recommendations is the method of content labeling for every post with commercial intent, and the labeling should be displayed prominently, in a clear font, and in a sufficiently large font size, with the use of appropriate warnings and hashtags such as: #ADVERTISMENT ‘BRAND,’ #PAIDSPONSORSHIP ‘BRAND,’ #AD, etc.
This initial action by ANPC should be understood as an awareness campaign, especially for young individuals affected by the marketing practices employed by influencers, so that all personalities and brand owners use appropriate warnings to inform consumers about paid advertising through any means. ANPC will continue to monitor this widespread phenomenon concerning social media content and will adopt the most suitable measures to combat unfair practices practiced by influencers.
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